Death to "+1 subscribe" comments: Help needed

It drives us all nuts. People have complained about it for years. How many times has an issue showed up with "new information" your inbox, tracker page, or an issue queue looking like this:

subscribe comments suck

We can finally do something about it... 3281d Consulting and Four Kitchens are teaming up to put an end to this insanity once and for all. Born out of lots of fruitful conversations at DrupalCon DC, we have a strategy and a clear path forward to implement a complete solution to this problem (and a host of related issues). Now all we need is the funding to make it happen. That's where you can help.

In a way, the biggest hurdle has already been accomplished -- we've gotten approval to deploy the amazing flag module on Not only will this make it possible to solve the issue subscription problem, it'll be an important tool in implementing some of the features proposed as part of the redesign.

However, completely solving this problem is not as easy as "just turn on flag module, configure some flags, and reconfigure a few issue views." Of course, we do have to do that, and it'll be easy, but that's only a small part of what it's going to take to completely kill "+1 subscribe" comments for good. So long as the issue e-mail subscription feature depends on comments, some people would still add comments to subscribe. There are a number of related problems with the existing e-mail subscription functionality, so if we're going to make it flag-aware, we want to give it the first serious love and attention it's had in many years. For example, wouldn't you like to be able to configure your issue e-mails to only send you the new comment (instead of resending the entire history of the issue) so they work well in threaded mail clients? If we meet our funding goal, that will be a per-user setting.

But that's not the end of the story, either. What about the My recent posts tracker page? It'd almost be worse if flagging an issue made it show up in "My issues" but not in your tracker. So, we need to add flag integration for Tracker2, which is where David Strauss from Four Kitchens comes in. This is going to let us enable flagging forum posts, too, so you can follow a forum topic without commenting.

And, while we're at it -- why stop at flagging issues and forum topics? How about flagging projects for another tab of modules you care about at the My projects page?

As we drew up the detailed battle plans, we saw this isn't going to be a trivial task. So, we're turning to you, the Drupal community, the people who use these tools day in and day out, to contribute and enable us to spend our time on fixing this instead of other paid gigs which make our landlords happy but don't benefit the entire Drupal community. Please donate -- this is one of the oldest and most annoying usability problems on itself. The end is near -- death to "+1 subscribe"!

- Derek Wright (dww), Chad Phillips (hunmonk), and David Strauss


Good Write Up! I put in $10

Good Write Up! I put in $10

Looks like it will be fun!

Man, I would love to stop

Man, I would love to stop following some issues I commented on. On g.d.o too.

I'll chip in!

But it will have to be next month... after taxes are paid.

So if someone ignores the new feature and still +1s an issue, will their computer instantly fry?

Just contributed but ...

I just contributed after seeing the chipin widget on a project page and thought it was just added and was appearing on all project pages but I see it's not. I then read this post and thought it was referring to having just returned from the recent Drupalcon SF but I now see it was 2009 and not 2010. Did I just waste my contribution or is this really going to happen - it's going to need more visibility so what's the plan to get this promoted more and is it still possible given the present state for the d.o reorg project?

No, you didn't waste your money...

Yes, this is still going to happen as soon as we raise the money to make it possible. It's a bummer that it's taking so long, but that's part of the problem of trying to support important infrastructure changes based on a community tip jar. Agreed, we need more visibility around this, I've just been too busy doing real work to spend the time marketing to raise the funding for this. It's not directly related to the redesign -- this can and should be fixed regardless of the redesign. Anyway, your contribution is much appreciated, and I hope we can roll this out in the near future...

Good to know!

I didn't catch the DrupalCon and date reference either, but glad to hear this is an ongoing project... I'm also sticking it on my project page to help get the word out. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help out beyond the financials...


It doesn't seem like there is much publicity for this ChipIn campaign. Do you have any plans to get the word out?

Chip-in's are great

But it would be nice if you could also outline the areas in which people can contribute their *time* instead of their money. Are there specific issues that I can get involved in? Are there any patches to review? Exactly what modules need flag integration? Help us help you get this in.

A good idea in theory but...

While I think this is a good idea in theory I think there are few caveats with this. I am one of the persons who subscribes to individual issue queues. Why do I do this? There are a few reasons. The main one is that there is no traditional forum bookmark or notify functionalities. The reason I subscribe is crucial and I do check back every time there is a comment added. Typically I might be experiencing the same exact problem or bug that someone else is or perhaps I am not totally sure that I am so I need to follow it to see how things develop before I know if I am having the same issue or not. Another reason could be that I am planning on doing something similar as what is described in the issue so I want to be informed in advance to know what I might be up against.

So if you are going to implement flagging, I think you need to replace it with individual RSS feeds / email subscription or bookmarking.

Perhaps you could "just turn

Perhaps you could "just turn on flag module, configure some flags, and reconfigure a few issue views" now, and do the rest of this once there is enough cash? I'm sure the community would love some rudimentary flagging ability now, even if its not perfect.

Flag module would seem to be

Flag module would seem to be the best solution long-term, as it is one of the top methods to select individual pieces of content to be stored as "flagged" by a particular user.

Using flag module to either subscribe to all comments on a node (Node Flag) OR subscribe to all replies to a comment (Comment Flag) would be great. This would be done by setting up actions for comment notify that can be applied with flag module & other modules (such as rules).


Ah yes, thank you for mentioning this subject, Flag module would seem to be the best solution for long-term, but please if we can find another solution like filtering similar in emails reporting junk or something, would be great. I had this case many times and as nothing happens next time it showed me again after using flag module.

+1 subscribing. Just kidding,

+1 subscribing.

Just kidding, is this still in the works?

Subscribing with $10

Subscribing with $10

Thanks Jerome F for linking

Thanks Jerome F for linking this post in your "subscribe" posts. I think I'll start doing the same (and put in my $10).

Awesome, great initiative. It

Awesome, great initiative. It would be cool if we could get Dries, webchick and a bunch of other big names to retweet this and get some more support.

Why doesn't the Drupal

Why doesn't the Drupal Association fund this? Isn't that what it is for? Not having a go at you guys, but it seems a bit cheap to have to grovel for the money when we have an organisation that has been set up to fund this stuff.

Good question...

When this was started in the spring of 2009, the Drupal Association was still terrified of spending money on anything other than DrupalCons and hardware for the * servers. They did not want to actually fund any development at all. So, the only ways to get funded to work on the code for d.o itself were:

A) Find a single company that saw the benefit and was willing to foot the bill

B) Try to find multiple companies that could split the bill

C) Community fund raising like this

D) Keep attempting to convince the Drupal Association funding code was (at times) as important as funding hardware

E) Give up and just do the work in your "free" time

After failing at A, B, and D for a while, and being reluctant to have this whole thing fall back into category E (where I spent the bulk of my time already), we decided to try C. It's mostly been a spectacular failure, mostly due to my own inability or unwillingness to do Proper Marketing(tm). ;) Times have somewhat changed, and D is at least more feasible now, but last I heard the Drupal Association was a bit spent-out from funding the redesign implementation (where I tried and failed to get this initiative approved for implementation as part of the redesign) and the Git migration. So, at least for now, we're still back to A-C as a means to get this done.

It's definitely possible that some benevolent company will see the massive PR value in being the ones that finally showed up with a relatively small check to take this chipin over the top so they could get lots of bragging rights in the community (and prominent links in the announcements and such). If anyone knows of (or better yet, makes decisions for) such a company, please let me know. ;)

Meanwhile, the slow trickle of donations continues. There's been another uptick of those in the last month or so. Maybe if I went on a concerted marketing effort we'd get somewhere. I just hate doing that -- I'd rather be getting work done instead of groveling for donations...

FYI: "Subscribing to a

FYI: "Subscribing to a status of an issue
(including effect on subscribe comments problem)"

What About Existing Modules

Why not use the Notifications module to solve this problem?

We might, but that's only part of the problem

We might use the notifications module for parts of this. However, that is a big complicated set of dependencies and we'd need to audit all that code before we could deploy it on See the development guidelines for more. Plus, the email notifications are only one small piece of the problem. We also need issue queue views and the tracker pages to also know what you've subscribed to or not. So, even if it turns out that it would make sense to deploy the notifications.module, that's not going to solve the whole problem on its own.

1 week until the ChipIn

1 week until the ChipIn closes... I wish my practice had caught on...

Your link brought me to this

Your link brought me to this page (hadn't heard of this before) but I can't find the chipin progress. Is that published somewhere? It's kind of hard to make a compelling case when the amount of money needed is a big question mark.

First of, every one

First of, every one "subscribes". Why is the flag called "Follow"?

Secondly, it might be a good idea to add the "Follow" flag near where a user would enter a "subscribe comment".